Lee Lang and Michael Bourg

Social justice activist Colin Kaepernick recently published an online essay titled “Abolition For The People” in which he advocated the abolition of the police and prisons.

Let me say up front that I truly admire Kaepernick’s continuing “knee for social justice.” He has remarkable courage and a profound sense of justice.

Having said that, I don’t think Kaepernick has ever met anyone quite like Lee Lang or Michael Bourg. If he had, he would not see the abolition of prisons as a viable option toward achieving justice.

I do not believe that property offenders and social ills offenders (DWI and drug possession, for example) should be sent to prison. Their criminal offenses can be addressed through community supervision that would produce accountability and rehabilitation.

However, there must be prisons for people like Lee Lang and Michael Bourg.

Lang was sent to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in the 1950s with a life sentence for murder—a sentence at that time which carried an incarceration period of 10 years and six months.

Over the next decade Lang killed four fellow inmates for little or no reason at all. And he always killed in a brutal, methodical manner.

Long before the term “super max” or long term solitary confinement entered the prison experience, Louisiana prison officials were forced to put Lang in a completely isolated confinement removed from all contact with other inmates. It was the only way to shut down that killing machine.

Michael Bourg was sent to prison for armed robbery. He fell in love with what is known in the prison setting as a “galboy.” Bourg and the galboy were white. Four black inmates started making sexual plays at the galboy. One of them called Bourg a “punk-ass bitch,” or something similar. That night Bourg killed two of them in their sleep before they could get out of bed. He killed the third one as he tried to get a weapon out of his locker. Bourg stabbed the fourth one multiple times as he banged on the dormitory door before they guard could get it open and let him escape the assault. He survived.

Bourg was also locked down in deep solitary confinement.

So, what would Kaepernick have us do with Lee Lang and Michael Bourg?

And what would the former NFL quarterback have us do with the violent prison gangs (with tens of thousands of members), child killers/rapists, serial killers, mass murderers, pedophiles, rapists, and killers who take the lives of their wives and children just to be with their Walmart girlfriends.

I know prison like Kaepernick knows football.

I know there are people in prison who have committed violent crimes, and after decades of imprisonment they deserve release consideration.

But there are thousands of inmates—like Lee Lang or El Chapo or a Neo-Nazi gang leader—who are violent and will remain violent the rest of their days on earth. They would pose an immediate, continuing threat to the free community if released.

There are not enough psychologists, social workers, group therapy programs, or diversion programs to treat, correct, or redirect their violent tendencies.

So, again, what are we to do with these people?

Release them from prison with the admonition, “go and sin no more from now on.”

The nation’s prison system is fueled by systemic racism—no doubt about that. Injustice is also a way of life in prison—so much so that it seems to be the natural order of things.

One day, through genetic engineering or Star Trek-like technology or artificial intelligence, society may find a way to deal with human violence besides penal incarceration but that panacea is nowhere in sight.

Abolition of prison is an ideal that a just, humane society must pursue, but never, ever, at the expense of the safety and well-being of the peaceful, law-abiding members of that society.


Herd Immunity

Reports from the White House reveal that the current administration has settled on the notion that “herd immunity” is the best way to deal with the Covid-19 virus.

Herd immunity theorizes that the more people infected with a contagious disease, the better it is in order to protect the herd; that is, those who contract the viral disease and survive will then be immune thereby protecting the herd.

The herders are willing to accept these losses to the herd: the aged, the most vulnerable to infection because of medical conditions, and the weak who simply cannot measure up to sickness. In effect, the herders are willing to accept the loss of 20 percent of the weakest in the herd in order to protect 80 percent of its strongest.

Herd immunity is a widely discredited medical theory much like the “flat-earth” head-in-the-sand  theory.

Below is a list of diseases in the animal kingdom that decimated groups of species and the herd theory with them:

  • Ebola – infects mostly chimpanzees and gorillas; killed off as many as 95 percent of those infected.
  • Chytrid – infects frogs and salamanders; sent 200 of these amphibians into catastrophic decline and wiped out 30 percent of them altogether.
  • West Nile Encephalitis – reduced the American crow population by 45 percent.
  • White-Nose Syndrome – killed off 6 million American bats, wiping out 99 percent of one breed.
  • Anthrax – in 2004, killed off 90 percent of wild herbivores in Zimbabwe.
  • Devil Facial Tumour Disease – a contagious cancer that has wiped out 90 percent of the Tasmanian Devil population in some areas.
  • Canine Distemper – decimated black-footed ferrets in Wyoming, African wild dogs and lions in Africa’s Serengeti, and Amur tigers in Eastern Russia.
  • Chlamydia – a sexually transmitted disease that has decimated the Australian koala population.
  • Sylvatic Plague – has a 90 percent mortality rate among prairie dogs.

Herd immunity did not protect these different animal species from the diseases that decimated their populations, mostly to near extinction.

Covid-19 will be no kinder or gentler to the human species in America or anywhere else in the world.

The “herders” see it differently.

They believe that if there are “only” 2 million deaths out of 20 million infections, the loss is worth the economic demand to keep our society open and fully functional.

The herders, however, do not factor into their herd immunity equation the fact that of the 20 million infected, roughly 10 to 12 million of those who survive the initial viral infection will still have residual or long term medical complications caused by the initial infection, such as: heart/vascular problems, damaged lungs, organ damage/failure, skeletal weakness, muscle weakness, and/or dementia-like memory loss.

These people are known as “long haulers”—those who will suffer months, years, and even life times from the Covid infection. They will not be contributors but rather a drain on society. Their long haul medical conditions will place so many demands on the nation’s healthcare system that it will go bankrupt. Those lucky enough to receive medical care through insurance coverage will not get “presidential treatment” care while those without health insurance will simply die.

The American society had better develop an acceptable relationship with this inevitable reality—our society will never be “normal” as we knew it pre-Covid. There is now the post-Covid normal that will last for generations

The Genie is out of the fucking bottle, and he ain’t going back in there no matter how hard we try to stuff, coax or jam his ass back into it.

The herders can continue to suck up to that “survival of the fitness” wench, Ayn Rand, but the so-called fitness (the herders) will have no barometer by which to measure their fitness. They can only shout in the Covid wilderness, “I’m immune” or some other dumb shit.

The only way to come to terms with the Genie is through an acceptance of science and medicine. A thumb up the ass and a finger in the nose will not save us from this Genie. The best we can hope for is to keep the Genie at bay through science and medicine.

America has always had a considerable market for stupidity and Covid-19 has made it abundantly clear that we now a bumper-crop of stupid to overflow that market.